Bangladesh Bank has handed over the remittance award to loan defaulter and money launderer Shahjahan Bablu without scrutinising his background.
Amid criticism from different corners for this act, the central bank now thinks of withdrawing the award given to Shahjahan.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Monday gave the remittance awards to 36 awardees, who sent the highest amount of remittance to the country, at the Institute of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh in the capital.
A representative of Shahjahan received the award on his behalf as he could not take part in the programme.
Shahjahan, who is a top defaulter of Bangladesh Commerce Bank Ltd (BCBL), laundered Tk 200 crore abroad through the bank in the name of export, according to the latest investigation carried out by Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU).
He had exported clay-made terracotta through one of his companies -- SB Exim -- to launder the money, the report said.
Having Tk 200 crore laundered, Shahjahan bought export bills worth Tk 190 crore from BCBL’s Dilkusha branch.
Meanwhile, Crime Investigation Department (CID) conducted an investigation where it found Shahjahan’s involvement in a money laundering case.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) also found evidence of his involvement in the export scam.
The central bank usually takes report from BFIU to check whether the awardees for remittance award have any record of money laundering. Interestingly, the intelligence agency gave clearance to the central bank for awarding Shahjahan with this year’s remittance award.
BFIU did not performed its role in verifying Shahjahan’s previous financial record, which gave him a chance to be awarded, said two Bangladesh Bank officials seeking anonymity.
Janata Bank was also responsible for the selection process as it had sent the name of Shahjahan to the central bank as one of its top remitters.
Md Serajul Islam, spokesperson and an executive director of the central bank, did not respond to a request for comment.
The central bank should have verified the nominated persons and institutions before announcing the awards, said Salehuddin Ahmed, former governor of the central bank.
Such steps of the central bank turn the significance of the awards valueless, he added.